Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Palestinian teachers strike over "salaries and pensions"


By Bao Yen - March 01, 2016
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Qalandia Refugee Camp]

Photos by Bao Yen.
Hundreds of Palestinian teachers demonstrated in front of Palestinian Ministry of Education and higher Education in Ramallah on Tuesday afternoon to demand fair wages from the Palestinian Authority.

The protest was to call on the Palestinian Authority for the implementation of the 2013 agreement that promised the teachers' rights and higher salaries.

"We are protesting because the Ministry of Education are not giving us our rights,” Salem Ramahi, told the Palestine Monitor. “It's been three years since the agreement and nothing has been done," the teacher added.

Last week, an estimated 20,000 teachers from towns and cities across the West Bank poured to Ramallah to protest in front of the Palestinian Authority's cabinet headquarters, Ma'an news reported.

 

But in this week’s protests, only teachers from Ramallah and nearby villages are taking action.

"We have been protesting for three weeks, but they refused to talk to us. They set up security and checkpoints to prevent teachers from taking part in the strike. We just want to talk to the Minister of Education," Ramahi added.

 

Since the beginning of the teachers' strike three weeks ago, over 20 teachers have been arrested and blockades were erected around Ramallah to prevent teachers from other regions coming to the demonstration. Many schools across the West Bank have been temporarily shut due to the strike.

Low salaries and retirement pensions remain the principal reasons behind the strike.

"The basic salary for teacher is 2,300 shekel per month. I have been teaching for 29 years and my salary is 3050 shekel per month," says Hayat, a middle school teacher in Ramallah, who asked to be identified with her first name only.

 

“There is also a problem with retirement. When I retire, I will only receive half of my salary”, she added.

Many teachers complained of unfair allocations of national budgets to other public sectors, which prioritize security services and civil servant personnel, while education has been poorly invested, according to a report by Al-Shabaka - the head of the Teachers' Union was blamed as an inefficient representative for the teachers' rights.

The protest has gathered not only teachers but also the students themselves, who came to the strike to express support for their teachers.

"We will keep protesting until we get our rights", Hayat told the Palestine Monitor.

 

The demonstration came after the Palestinian Authority threatened to impose administrative and legal punishment on the teachers who refused to return to work.

 

 
 

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